Tuesday, December 29, 2015

End of the year

Thanks for another great year (that makes five!) of reading about our farm.  Let's look back on some of the events of the year ...

I had a great time speaking to people about farming as a Face of Farming and Ranching, and I also really enjoyed the radio and writing opportunities.  Happily, US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has asked us to do it again!  I'm so excited to have the opportunity to spend another year representing agriculture.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder &  Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski

We bought more cows.  Welcome to our herd!

Milk prices got super low.  The very basic explanation is - milk prices go up, so farmers buy more cows.  As a result, there is more milk available in the market.  Then milk prices go down, so farmers sell cows.  There is less milk, so milk prices go up.  This is an endless cycle as far as I can tell.  You just have to ride the waves. (Of milk.)

For the first time since we've lived here, we started milking three times a day.  This was a big change for everyone, but it seems to be going well so far.

Thank you for caring, thank you for reading, and thank you for all of your support!  Happy new year, and here's to a fantastic 2016 ... with even more fantastic milk prices!

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Monday, December 28, 2015


We're having an ice storm right now, and Kris just left to check on our latest ... and LAST calves! The last calf was born the day after Christmas.  As he left for the barn, Kris said he was so glad we're not having any more, especially in weather like this.

My uncle, aunt, and cousins have a dairy in New Mexico and they've been having a terrible blizzard. The highways are closed, so the milk truck can't come, so they had to dump their milk.  The people milking can't drive there - and the ones already there can't leave - so they're sleeping in their house. But there isn't enough room, so people are sleeping on the floor.

We drove 30 miles home in the ice storm tonight, and we were talking about how ice and cold makes everything harder on the farm.  We didn't have a white Christmas this year, which was great, but let's hope the weather gets better for all of the farmers.

We liked Novembers like this ... this was our Christmas card picture.  Thank you for reading all year round, from our family to yours!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas on the farm

It's almost Christmas!

- When a teacher was reading a book about Jesus lying in hay, my son yelled 'STRAW!'  Why straw?  Because you bed down cattle with straw.  It's wheat ... it's soft, yellow, and common bedding material. 

Hay is another word for alfalfa or grass, which cattle eat.  I told my son that technically Jesus was lying in a manger, which is a feeder where the cattle eat, so it very well could have been hay.  He said, "No, in the picture it was YELLOW." 

- Kris - and everyone else here - of course work on the holidays.  The cows stop for no one!  I well remember waiting until my dad got home from the barn to open presents on Christmas morning.  We do the same thing now ... Kris gets up at 3:00 a.m. to get an early start ... but so far every year, so have the boys!  

- Milk prices are so bad this year, and they're projected to go even lower at the beginning of the year.  There's not one day that goes by that we don't think about this.  Dairy farming is a cyclical business, but we're getting half of what we were getting for milk last year.  So what to do?  Everyone, double your milk, butter, and cheese consumption!  Think eggnog at every party. 

- I had no book to read so I searched my shelves and found an old one.  I opened it up and was delighted to see ... my great grandpa Floyd Anderson had signed his name in it in 1896!  Age 14.  He was the third generation to farm here and lived in my house.  The book is a 'Brief History of the United States.'  I was so excited and told my whole family.  We're not sure why I have it or where it came from ... but then I decided the next day I should check all of my books. 

Lo and behold, I opened up another unfamiliar one and ... it was signed by my grandma's brother! Arnold Lamb!  He didn't date it but the book was published in 1911.  I don't know where it came from, I don't know how I ended up with it - it was a lovely Christmas surprise.  I'm going to check more books today.

- Everything on the farm is headed into the holidays.  We have special schedules, everyone's working different times, and mostly, everyone is working together to make sure that it all runs smoothly - but people don't miss out on anything important.  We're a family farm, for sure.

- Tomorrow we're moving the heifers to the barn closest to our house.  Everyone's coming home for the holidays!

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

The best Christmas cookies in the world

Every year since I've moved home the neighborhood women have had a Christmas cookie party.  I always try to make it because 1) I love parties, 2) I love making pretty food, and 3) I love seeing what other people make!  

Everyone brings cookies and we set them all out for an impressive display worth oohs and ahhs.



I made these:

The hostess, Phyllis, had a beautifully decorated house and showed us some of her projects - like the christening gown she just made from a wedding dress for the new baby in her family.

When Phyllis showed this to us, she said, "I HATE cleaning!  But I could do this all day."  We all heartily agreed.  Our neighbor said, "Sometimes I think I spend too much time putting up our Christmas decorations, but then I think - what else would I rather be doing?"  My mom said, "I think that too - I could be doing what I want to do, or I could be scrubbing floors."

Many of the women there I've known my entire life, and some I've just met when I moved back to the neighborhood.  There were even a few mother/daughter sets!

Phyllis sent us all home from the party with our own homemade favor - the cutest little dishtowel.

This was the first year I've been to the party without kids.  My boys are all in school now ... luckily people are still bringing kids and babies.

So ... the best Christmas cookies in the world?  Ones that your neighbors made for you, you eat beside them, and you all agree there's nothing else you'd rather be doing.

So!  I'm participating in a #DairyChristmas community blog post.  Since the party was all about friendship and cookies, I'd like to share this very dairy, Christmas-y dessert.  It can be eaten cold, warm, for dessert or for breakfast (if you're me).

Butterscotch Bread Pudding


1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces
4 cups milk
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup butterscotch chips


Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F.

In bowl, combine bread, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and butterscotch chips. Mix well until bread is wet. Pour into prepared dish.

Bake 50 minutes, until nearly set. It should have a pudding wiggle to it. Serve warm or cold. Best enjoyed with friends.

Looking for more?  Sadie Frericks organized the #DairyChristmas community and we're all participating today!  Here are posts and recipes from dairy farmers around the country!

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Where FB stands for Farm Bureau and not Facebook

This week Kris and I were at the 96th (that's right, NINETY-SIXTH) annual Michigan Farm Bureau meeting.

I've written before about it, because I love, love going.  The people who go are fun, engaged, entertaining, and great to talk to about farming and everything else under the sun.

This year was a little different because for the first time Kris was on the policy development committee.  This meant that before the meeting he and the rest of the people go through all of the policy changes and additions sent in by local Farm Bureaus, make proposed changes, and present them to the delegate body.  (You can listen to him doing a radio interview about some of the issues here.)

The policy development committee members are divided into certain committees, and then they stand in front of the 400ish delegates and read the policy.  Through lots of parliamentary procedure, people approve or do not approve of the changes, make more changes, alter wording, and vote ... and by the end of the meeting every year we have fresh policy to guide our organization.

In between we have speakers (like Governor Snyder who also named today 'Spartan Green Day' - GO STATE!), Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski, award winners, hold discussion meets, have social events, elect leaders, have charitable events, and have entertainment.  What's not to like?  I even jumped up to talk to Gov. Snyder and Pres. Bednarski at lunch when they were coming around to talk to people.  I'm introverted like that.

Then, it was back to the farm.  We're hauling manure, we're getting our new cows used to our place, we're modifying the feed rations, we're checking on our heifers at our heifer raiser's place, and we're thankful that we have such a large, well-run, well-meaning organization at our back.  (It doesn't hurt that they throw a great party, too.)

Here's to 96 more!

My view as a delegate
I love Grand Rapids

A couple of the super-fun farmers - Keegan and Annie

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Progressive Dairy(man)

This month Progressive Dairyman also featured women in agricultural roles, and they asked me to write an article for them.  It's called 'Changing times call for new roles in the dairy industry'.


Last year, I was selected as a Face of Farming and Ranching by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. As I spent the year communicating with consumers by print, radio and in person, I thought a lot about my ancestors.

Six generations ago when my family started this farm, farming was close to everyone. For each generation since, farming became more and more rare, until there are only about 50,000 dairy farms in the country.

As the times have changed, our roles have changed. My great-grandma used to not only feed everyone on the farm, do the laundry by hand and raise her kids; she also cleaned out the cobwebs from the barn.

My grandma and mom were always fixtures on the farm, and they also both had outside jobs to help support the family. When you’re the owners, you’re going to make all the decisions with the other owner – your partner. It’s a team effort to run a business.

In modern times, we’re still a team, but the support role is different. Since there are fewer farms, our efforts are frequently focused on education. Since my husband, Kris, is mostly busy doing the work, I’m excited to have that position.

When the children were small, it was really enjoyable starting to host tours and write my blog, “Truth or Dairy.” As they got older, my level of activities came to include going into schools, hosting field trips and representing farmers through Michigan Milk Producers Association and the National Milk Producers Federation.

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to directly speak with people in many places. At the American Food and Technology Innovation Summit, I got to talk with people about organic food and GMOs. At the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, I had great conversations about modern dairy farming practices.

At the University of Arkansas, I spoke with academics involved in agricultural production. I got to address the USDA, pork and poultry producers, and farmers and consumers of all types.

In schools, I was able to speak with students about all sorts of farming practices completely new to them. Kris and I were even named the fourth-grade class farmers at the AG-STEM school Gateway North Elementary in St. Johns, Michigan. (Their questions are the best – “Do you ever dress the cows up, like with sunglasses?”)

With all the writing, radio and online interviews, and speaking engagements, I love communicating with people in a positive, educational manner. I love being able to answer questions and represent our fantastic industry.

Of course, it’s not always easy sitting in an audience and listening to someone talk about how farmers are doing everything wrong. It’s not great to listen to people who are driven only by feelings about food and not facts. It’s not exciting seeing memes online that state blatant untruths about the food we produce and consume.

What is great is: Farmers all realize that in order to please our consumers, we need to make sure that they understand why we do what we do. When every person in the country can recite the eight GMO crops, when every child can tell you how milk is produced, and when every person can tell you why manure is great fertilizer, then we can rest easy.

But until then, farmers are doing what they’ve always done: farming responsibly, taking care of their animals, providing for their country and their families, and talking about the why and how.

Every time you’re able to reach a greater understanding with another person, it’s a win. Consumers have certain things they want, and we want to give it to them – as well as help them understand us and our practices. After all, all farmers are consumers, too. I look forward to continuing this process for the next year and all the years after.

It’s nice having a position to do this, but we’re all doing it every day. It doesn’t have to be a big event. Every time we have a conversation, invite someone over, post a picture, host a tour and communicate what modern farming is like, we bring everyone a little bit closer.

I’m always looking forward to my next opportunity to share with people about farming. I’ll never pass up a chance to write, speak or teach about farming. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be even more like my ancestors and get those cobwebs out of the barn. Just kidding - I think they add character.


You can see the article online here.  Thank you to Jenna Hurty and Progressive Dairyman!

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Dairy farming feature

This month Mary of Mackinson Dairy Farm is featuring women in dairy.

Here are her questions and my answers.  To read the whole article - and about all the other featured farmers - you can go here!

What are 3 things you want consumers to know about the dairy products you produce?

I’ll talk about the questions I get most …

There are no antibiotics in your milk. Our cows are generally very healthy. If a dairy cow does get sick, we help her get better by giving her an antibiotic to fight off a bacterial infection, much like people do. There’s a very specific way to treat her. First, we follow the medicine labels, which inform us how long the antibiotic will be in her system. For that period of time, we milk her into a separate container and dump the milk. Her milk does not go into the bulk tank with the other cows’ milk.
Here’s the verification process and how we guard against human error:

Step 1: At the farm, the driver takes a sample to hang on to from each farm’s bulk tank, then adds the milk to the combined truckload. The driver drives to the milk processing plant.

Step 2: Each and every combined truckload of milk is sampled immediately upon arrival at the milk processing plant before unloading.

Step 3: If the combined truckload tests positive for antibiotics, the plant goes to the individual bulk tank samples from each farm to determine which farm had antibiotics in the milk. (Each individual sample from the bulk tank is tested every day anyway, so that the farm knows the exact components of their milk.)

Step 4: If the milk plant finds a trace of antibiotics in the milk, it dumps the entire load (yours and whatever other farms’ milk they have in the truck). The tainted milk never even gets to the milk plant’s tank.

Step 5: That farm that had antibiotics in its milk is then fined and it doesn’t get paid for its milk.

Step 6: If it happens more than once in a year, that farm is suspended.

Aside from all of that (and despite what you may have heard), there’s no advantage to us of overusing antibiotics. It doesn’t make our healthy cows healthier, more comfortable, or give more milk.

We’re not keeping antibiotics out of milk because we only want to avoid fines. We don’t want it either! Farmers want to, strive to, and work hard to provide you with a quality product. Keeping antibiotics out of the milk is what everyone wants – farmers and consumers. We want to give you the nutritious and wholesome product you expect.

Plus, I buy my milk at the store just like everybody else. I’m completely confident in it – and you can be, too.

There are natural hormones in all milk – organic and conventional.  There are natural hormones in milk because cows (like all mammals) have hormones.  People didn’t put them there.  Farmers like us that belong to MMPA (Michigan Milk Producers Association) do not give their cows any hormones.  In the past, some farms gave their cow’s supplemental recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), which is the growth hormone that normally occurs in cows, to help them produce more milk.  But since farmers were giving them more of a hormone that occurs naturally, there was no way to tell from the milk if they had it – because it’s a hormone they already have.  You may have heard of women who take hormones to increase their milk production.  It’s the same practice.  But again, we don’t give the cows any hormones and never did.

A comfortable, healthy cow gives more milk. Farmers treat their cattle extremely well because we want them to produce high quality, high volume of milk.  It’s awful that any person let alone farmer would mistreat an animal, and when someone does that, it’s heartbreaking.  It not only is awful for the animal, but it’s depressing for all the people who are trying to do everything right.

So the bad apples aren’t representative of all the farmers who are depending on their cattle for their livelihood and do anything and everything for them.  We make sure they have the best nutrition, bedding, housing, temperature, medical care – everything so they can continue to easily and comfortably produce milk.

What is the most rewarding part of production agriculture? Challenging?

We always wanted to own our own business, but we weren’t sure what we wanted it to be.  The most rewarding part of owning a farm is that it’s your farm.  When you work, it’s for you.  When you make decisions, you’re the one that faces the consequences.  I also love that we can share our business and lifestyle with our boys.  This business gives us the flexibility to have our kids with us, really see what the farm is about, and spend time together.  There’s not much of a separation between home and farm.  They get to see hard work up close and as they get older, participate in it.

The most challenging part of farming is the uncertainty of it.  The weather, the market, a strange cattle virus – so much of it is out of your control.  You really just have to try your best and have faith that it’s all going to work out in the end.  So cheers!  Have a glass of milk and toast to the farmers across the nation, all doing the same thing!

What do you envision the future of the dairy industry looking like?

It’s an interesting question – when we first approached my parents about buying the farm, they had a lot of concerns.  One concern was that the nature of the dairy industry is cyclical, and you have to be prepared for the ups and downs of the milk prices.  The first year we started was a high, and the next was a low.  We felt we got a taste of it right away!  I know the dairy margin protection program is designed to help ease that transition, but it doesn’t make as much of an impact as one would hope.

There are still lots of small farms (like ours) but with the low milk prices you wonder how many of them can withstand the tough years.  I think that with the price of robot milkers coming down, that’s a way that the smaller farms can continue to milk.  With the recent attention and news about how great full-fat dairy products are for health, that’s another positive for our industry.

Our future has a lot of questions – Will the cyclical nature of dairy farming ever change?  What happens when we’re all producing something there’s no demand for?  Will there be bigger, fewer farms or smaller, robot-milker farms?  Maybe we’ll all just have to pick a different direction to go when people choose almond ‘water’.  If that happens, I’ll have to keep a cow just for me – I love milk and drink it every day.

Wardin 3

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fourth grade cheese tasting

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (Brianna Banka) in conjunction with Fuel Up to Play 60 awarded a grant for the December Healthy Snack at St Johns Public Schools.

Today at Gateway North, which is the Ag-STEM school in St Johns, Michigan State University nursing students Danielle Flach and Stephanie Cosentino put together a dairy lesson and cheese tasting for the fourth grade classes!  Karla Palmer (district school nurse) and I also helped out.

First, Danielle and Stephanie showed an educational and good 4-minute video about dairy farming. Then they presented on the healthy aspects of dairy and why it's important especially for growing children.  I talked about how milk is turned into cheese and why it's important to Fuel Up to Play 60.

Then they had ... a cheese tasting!  They gave each fourth grader their own samples of gouda, pepperjack, and cheddar cheese.  (They also gave every kid in the school string cheese sticks.)

The kids were SO excited!  "Cheese!  Cheese!  Cheese!" they yelled.  They all tasted it and most gobbled it down immediately, even if some had to get drinks after the pepperjack.

These kids are so fun - several also asked me for my autograph (I have no idea why) and hugged me.  I'm so glad to have this student/farmer relationship!

Thank you to everyone for a nice day and a great healthy snack ... it sure was gouda.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

MSU extension and vet visit

Kris is on the MSU Extension Advisory Board and after their meeting yesterday everyone came for a farm tour.  Farmers love seeing other farms.  It's just the way it is!  It was nice seeing everyone and talking - and nice doing a tour with Kris.  Questions from farmers are so different than questions from preschoolers ... for example, "What is your philosophy on cow size?"

We had another visit from Lindsey Sanchez, our vet.  (You may remember the surgery post.)  Josh noticed something was wrong with a cow.  We use a stethoscope on cows to listen to their insides - like their rumen.  Kris let me listen to it - it was my first time - and it sounded like far off thunder.  

We thought she might have a displaced abomasum, but Lindsey listened and palpated and diagnosed her with a mummified calf.  The cow gave birth 80 days ago to a live calf, and that calf apparently had a twin that didn't make it.  Her body was trying to absorb it, but she hasn't been able to do it yet.

Lindsey wasn't sure why this put her 'off feed' (that's the term for her not eating enough and not feeling well), but she suggested feeding her a special mix that we have for cows and giving her some medicine.

Again, Lindsey had to do all this with three boys, team members, and me watching.  I should have asked her her philosophy on people watching you at work, taking your picture, and asking a hundred questions the entire time!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Wow, do I love teaching this age

Rebecca Daman at St Joseph Catholic School in St Johns (lots of saints in that sentence, don't be confused) asked me to come in again this year to do a dairy lesson with her begindergarten class. This is a class for 4-5 year olds.

I have a five year old, and let me once again reiterate - this is such a wonderful age.  The kids were adorable.  First of all, they pretend they're going to ask a question, but instead just tell me an unrelated story that they were thinking about.  It's never not funny.

Second of all, they're so interested in everything!  They love hearing about dairy farms, cows, and how all sorts of food gets to them.

Third of all, they laugh at my jokes, no matter how silly.  In fact, the sillier the better.

We read a few dairy books, then a few general farming books, and discussed them.  I also took a milker, a calf bottle, and cow models to show them.  They answered all the quiz questions at the end of the lesson, I answered their question/statements, and they were super excited about the coloring books and chocolate milk!

As I left, Maddox said, "Thank you.  I love milk.  I miss you."

Is there a better ending to a lesson?

Thank you to Rebecca Daman and her lovely class!  

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pregnant cows!

Today was ultrasound day!  We bring in a vet - today it was our friend Russ Seifferlein - to give an internal ultrasound to the heifers and cows.

 He has an ultrasound wand similar to the one used for humans, but with one huge difference - he is wearing goggles that show him the ultrasound picture!

He let me look through them where I could barely see a teeny tiny spot on the screen.  But imagine how good you must get at this doing this many ultrasounds as part of your job...

Again, we have such good people on our farm, and in a situation like this, it just makes everything go so smoothly.

Russ walks to one side of the parlor and yells the number on the tag to Kris.  He performs the ultrasound and gives us the news - open, which means not pregnant, is delivered in a hushed tone, like a doctor giving bad news.  Pregnant is delivered in a celebratory manner, partly because everyone really likes good news.  (I am prone to cheering.)  He then goes back to the end of the parlor, then back through to the other side ... switching sides and giving ultrasounds for a couple of hours.

Josh and Adam were in charge of moving the cattle, moving the doors in and out to let Russ in and out, but let just one cow in at a time, plus yelling out the tags for Kris.  The cows can only go in one at a time because Russ has to have enough room to do the ultrasound.  Lots of cattle to move!

Carolyn was in the pit also, giving treatment to any cows who Russ diagnosed as having a problem.

Kris was writing down for our records each ear tag number and diagnosis.

I was slowing everything down by asking Russ million questions like always, and Max was very interested in the whole process.  Someday, a million years from now, I hope he doesn't compare his wife's first ultrasound to the times he was in the barn ... directly to her face.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another aspect of farming ... policy!

This year for the first time Kris was part of the Michigan Farm Bureau Policy Development Committee.  (His interview starts at 35 seconds in the above video.)

For three days, they take the 800+ proposed resolutions from the county Farm Bureaus and draft them into resolutions members will vote on at the annual meeting in December.

The resolutions are about absolutely everything affecting agriculture (800 seems to cover a lot, right?) from energy policy to taxes to animal care.

So for these days, Kris depended on our great employees to take care of everything on the farm. We feel very fortunate to have a team that can take care of the work here.

There are so many aspects that go into farming ... cattle health, nutrition, cropping, machines ... and governmental policy!  Farm Bureau is so well-organized and established (this is the 96th annual meeting) and it's great to be a part of this aspect of it as well.

Kris said they got a lot of work done, he ate more food than he had in months, and he can't remember the last time he sat down for this long since EVER.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Middle East and Midwest


Today we hosted a tour for women scholars from the Middle East!  Marilyn Thelen from MSU Extension brought them, along with MSU associate professor Andrey Guber.

They were interested in manure management, crop and soil sciences, and women-owned farms.  Of course, coming from another country, their questions were different than the ones I usually get.

Along with specific manure and soil questions, we discussed my role on the farm, women's roles on farms in general, income, taxes, and ownership.  (They told me that at home, if a husband/wife team owns a farm and he dies, she gets 1/8th of the farm.)

The calves were appropriately adorable, the cows were calm, and the women were cold.  I asked what they liked best about their trip so far, and one mentioned the beautiful fall leaves.  We are having a gorgeous fall.  (I say this every fall ... and take the same pictures.  This is a picture from this year and a picture from last year.  I can't help myself.)

It was a really interesting and enjoyable tour.  Thank you to our visitors and to Marilyn Thelen for bringing them.

Meanwhile on the farm ...

Kris has an policy development meeting for Michigan Farm Bureau for the next three days.  Farm Bureau's role is to 'represent, protect, and enhance the business, economic, social and educational interests' of their farmer members.  Kris said, "The day runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.!  Of course, that's shorter than my normal day."

We're hauling manure right now, because we want to get it on all our fields that we just harvested so we can work it in.  The conditions are good because the ground isn't wet yet either.  Most farms are hauling manure continuously around here now for the same reasons.  You can see and smell the work going on!

We're getting ready for fall.  The grass isn't really growing any more, so we brought most of the cattle in from the pasture.  (The heifers are still out on it.)  We're going to rent a neighbor's facilities and keep some heifers there over the winter.  Basically, just like our visitors today, it's getting cold and we know we need to all get inside!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We love our vets - today's surgery

Every once in awhile a calf gets a hernia.  This nice two-month old heifer had a pretty prominent one in her belly button, which is called an umbilical hernia. (Tonight our dads were talking about how they've fixed small hernias in the past - they have taped or wrapped the calf around the entire body in hopes that the hole will close.)  In this case, since it was big, we called on our veterinarians.

You can see her hernia pushing out near the center of her body.

Full disclosure - I LOVE watching the vets do surgeries.  I had even more interest in this one because a few years ago, I also had umbilical hernia surgery!  

Our longtime vet Russ Seifferlein was assisting our newer vet Lindsey Sanchez.  Earlier in the day she had been to float (file) a horse's teeth and helped a family say goodbye to their cat.  Seriously, vets have such interesting days!

This was Lindsey's first ever hernia surgery.  I'm sure she was super glad that she had four people watching and one taking pictures.  (Just kidding - she did a great job.) 

First, they sedated the heifer.  Then, they shaved and cleaned the surgical area with alcohol for a long time.

Note their cute headlamps.
They covered the rest of her body and gave her anesthesia.  If you didn't see her hernia before, you can see it now!

Lindsey made the incision with Russ looking on.  She cut around the circle of the hole, making sure to cut only skin and not the intestinal wall.

It's amazing how tough skin really is.  I mean, they are known for leather and all.

After she'd cut all she needed to, she made sure the intestines were pushed back in the body and moved to sew her all back together.  (This part actually made my belly button hurt a little.)

She needed to sew up the hole, and then she needed to sew the skin. Russ also referred to the 'belt and suspenders' method, where she sewed it in two places (together and to the side) to make sure the repair didn't fail.  

Looks just like any surgery in a hospital, minus the straw.  But it's clean straw!

Like for most events on the farm, our son got an up close view.

Kindergarten in the morning, vet school in the p.m.

Then, she was finished!  First hernia surgery successful!  She proudly displayed the repaired calf.

We'll keep her in this pen by herself for a week or so to make sure that no other calves accidentally injure her.  She'll be herself in no time, but with a stronger abdominal wall!

Thank you, Russ and Lindsey, for the educational day and great work.  As always, we hope never to see you on our farm again! 

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